GoI mulls policy on airfares; discussions at ‘highest level’

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New Delhi: The government of India has started discussions at the “highest level” to put in place a policy on airfares, including possible cap, as concerns persist over steep fluctuations in air ticket prices, especially during peak demand periods.

The latest round of discussions comes close on the heels of parliamentarians raising concerns, last month, over surge in airfares during Jat agitation and natural calamities. Civil Aviation Ministry, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and other entities within the government have started deliberating on whether there should be a cap on airfares, a senior official said.

Discussions are underway at the “highest level” on having a policy with respect to airfares, the official added. When asked whether in principle the ministry has decided to put a cap on airfares, the official did not elaborate but said various aspects are being looked into.

“We are in the process of adopting certain measures to cap ticket price. But we are trying to do it by consensus and not by regulation. Our prime minister also envisions that fares be kept under control,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma had said recently.

The new civil aviation policy, which is expected to be unveiled soon, has proposed a limit of Rs 2,500 per ticket for a one-hour flight as part of larger efforts to boost regional air connectivity.

Last month, DGCA chief M Sathiyavathy had said discussions need to be held with airlines before any decision on fixing upper cap on ticket prices.

Responding to concerns expressed by the MPs regarding steep fluctuations in air ticket prices, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had told the Lok Sabha in May that he would discuss the issue with stakeholders.

Meanwhile, the government is also working on other ways to ensure that there are no steep movements in air ticket prices. These include allowing airlines to operate additional flights to the northeast and other areas during peak periods beyond their seasonal schedules. PTI

 

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